win 3.1 and win95 dual drives

January 18, 2010 at 20:10:00
Specs: Windows XP
I have an old p133 system that will run with either of 2 hard drives that I have. One drive has win 3.1 on it and the 2nd drive has win95 on it. I keep pulling one drive out and putting the other drive in depending which operating system I want to use.

Can I plug both drives into the motherboard with a tandem cable and use either operating system? Will I need to make one the primary drive and the other the slave drive?

See More: win 3.1 and win95 dual drives

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January 18, 2010 at 21:58:22
Yes you can connect both drives. If they are to be on the same IDE cable then one would be jumpered 'master' and the second as 'slave'.

Dual boot is usually accomplished with a boot loader. Loader softwre is usually installed to provide dual booting with systems on a single drive and I don't know for sure if the same dual boot software will work with separate drives but I assume so. Others may post in with better knowledge.

One thing you can do without any boot loader software is to hook the drives up as master/slave as I mentioned above and then go into cmos/bios setup and disable the drive you DON'T want to boot from. Set its drive type to NONE. The system will then boot from the other drive. You won't have access to the other drive since it's been disabled so it's essentially the same as the drive swapping you're doing now but you won't have to open the case each time.

You're not really green until you're soylent green.

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January 19, 2010 at 00:00:27
It would be a good idea to get a boot loader, continually pulling drives in and out of a computer is going to reduce their life span. They were not designed for that kind of handling.

Unlike Windows XP and later, Windows95/98 didn't come with a built in boat-loader so you will need a third party boot loader. The following link will give you some to chose from

The two Linux boot loaders, Grub and Lilo work well with Windows. However they come in source form and will need to be complied which may be beyond you means. However, if you can get hold of a copy of Linux they are usually included ready to run.

You can boot from a single drive with multiple partitions or two drives as necessary. All the boot loader is concerned with is bootable partitions and cares little if the are one single disk or multiple disks.

Bear in mind though if you boot to Windows 3.1 and the Windows 95 disk is formated to Fat32 you wont be able to read it as Windows 3.1 wont read a Fat32 partition. However Windows 95 is quite happy with a Fat16 partion that Windows 3.1 uses.


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January 19, 2010 at 20:23:23
Thanks for the input - I got it working real smooth by setting the Win95 drive as the master and the Win 3.11 as the slave. I can leave both drives set to auto detect in the bios and the Win95 drive always starts. With the Win95 drive up I can see and access the Win 3.11 drive. When I want to run the Win 3.11 drive I just set the Win95 drive to none in bios and it then boots to the Win 3.11 drive. Only drawback is I cannot access the Win95 drive from the Win 3.11 drive - but I can live with that.

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January 19, 2010 at 21:13:57
Glad it worked out. Yeah, you wouldn't have to disable the slave if you were booting from the master since it'll boot from the master anyway. I should have remembered that when I posted above.

When a person does it that way the primary dos partition on both drives must be set active. Fdisk won't set a second partition active if one is already active so it needs to be done one drive at a time either by having only one connected at a time or by disabling one.

Of course you had previously run the drives separately so they were already both acitve.

You're not really green until you're soylent green.

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